Growing up, Disney has been there for us all. This multinational mass media and entertainment congolmerate is iconic and recognized gloabally simply by the head of a mouse. Walt Disney did create an empire, but through the many Disney films created over the past twenty years he also taught us a way of life. Whether or not it was intentional, Disney taught us amazing values. Here's a list of the lessons we learned:
1. The Importance of Family
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
We all remember that beyond famous quote proclaimed by the galaxy's cutest little blue extraterrestial of all time: "Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." No matter what kind of family we have - whether its boundless or broken - those words spoken by a 1"3' fluffy Disney character resonated with each and every one of us. Our family doesn't have to be perfect, most aren't, but it is ours and that's why we love it.
2. How To Have An Adventure
If you say you didn't shed one tear during the first twenty minutes of this film you're a liar. Watching main character Carl Fredrickson stand his ground and protect the past home of him and his late wife, Ellie, is gutwrentching. But this movie isn't all sad. In his old age, Carl learns how to live life to the fullest and find amazing expereinces. "Adventure Is Out There!" - Ellie Fredrickson.
3. Acceptance of Others
Toy Story (1995)
The first of the Disney Pixar major motion pictures, "Toy Story" follows the rollercoaster escapades of famous toys Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Both marked on the bottom of their shoe, the two very different dispositions are linked by the signature of their owner, Andy. Upon first meeting, the good-hearted cowboy doll cannot find a way to get along with what he believes to be his new "competition." Woody starts things off on a sour note by telling Buzz that he "is a toy!" not an intergalactic space ranger. After the mishaps at Pizza Planet, they find themselves having to work together to find their way back home. When Woody takes a leap of faith, he and Buzz fly (or fall in style) to safety, jumping into a lifelong bond that no new Christmas gift can tear apart.
4. How Far We Will Go For The Ones We Love
Finding Nemo (2003)
This one's a classic. From the very beginning, small but mighty persona Nemo shows us that the only limits we have in life are the ones we place on ourselves. However, father Marlin, voiced by Bruce Hunter, reigns as the main character of this film. When Nemo is fished out of the sea by the dentist, Marlin sets out on a wild adventure to find his son. Even though he has help from some new friends alone the way, Marlin teaches us that we will always go to amazing lengths for a loved one - even conquer the ocean.
5. It's OK To Be Sad Sometimes
Inside Out (2015)
This movie is pretty straightforward. Within "Inside Out," there are five emotions which carry our brains through life: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. When gloomy Sadness comes into the mind, leading lady, Joy (Amy Poehler) works tirelessly to keep Sadness in a conatined bubble. She believes Reily should always remain smiling during the ups and downs of growing up. Throughout her journey, Joy learns that no one, not even her perfect Reily, can go through life feeling amazing all the time. It's normal to feel down every now and then. Without sad times there would be no joy.
6. Life Will Take You In Unexpected Directions
I can't say that I ever expected to learn anything from egotistic central character Lightening McQueen. Let's be honest, we all wanted to smack the jerk at least once throughout this film. However, watching this selfish self-centered racecar go from radical rookie to beloved "Stickers" made us all look at ourselves a little different. When he acquires a change in perspective, McQueen is able to find a home in the town he previous loathed. At the end of his journey he is truly able to call it "Radiator Springs: A Happy Place."
7. Believe In Yourself
Rats in a restaurant. This is not exactly something that you'd dream of seeing in IMAX but I think we can all agree that Disney Pixar can pull anything off at this point. In this upbeat but captivating film, furry friend Remy takes all of France by storm with his astounding cuisine. He doesn't let anyone, not even his own family, tell him he can't do something. But he isn't able to do this alone. Remy gets his moxie from world renowned chef Auguste Gusteau who said, "Anyone can cook. But only the fearless can be great."
8. Not All Love Has To Be Romantic
So either you love this one or you hate it; there is no inbetween. Whether or not you left the theatre singing "Do you want to build a snowman?!" at the top of your lungs or you were smacking your head against the carseat as your little sister belted it out the entire ride home, Frozen taught you something. Even though he is not the main character, adorable little Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, taught us the most important lesson: "Some people are worth melting for." Cold as he is, Olaf has a heart of fire and shows us through his relationship with Anna that the deepest form of affection doesn't always come from a lover, but a best friend.
9. There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of
Monster's Inc. (2001)
Okay so we can all agree that this movie is nothing less than adorable. James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski find themselves partnered up at their workplace, Monsters Incorporated, where they are given the sole task of scaring children for the biggest scream. Even though their job is to be terrifying, they quickly discover the human world is not a place to mess with. They're back and forth chase with cute and cuddley Boo brings them into some crazy encounters. By the end, this dynamic duo falls in love with little Boo and shows us that really the only thing to fear is fear itself.
10. Don't Stress Too Much
The Lion King (1994)
Whether you've seen this classic film or not, everyone knows the story of Simba. As heir to the kingdom, this lion cub has a lot to live up to. When wicked uncle, Scar, plots his way to the throne with a stampede of wildbeestes, Simba finds himself alone with no father to guide him through life. Thankfully, friends always appear in unexpected places and Simba finds companionship in characters Timon and Pumbaa. "Hakuna Matata" is their motto, showing Simba and us as well that living life with no worries will bring the most happiness in the end.
Thank you Disney for over 90 years of insight and wisdom.